Privileges motion filed against AG

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

San Juan/Barataria MP Saddam Hosein makes a point during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. PHOTO COURTESY OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT –

THE Opposition has filed a motion of privileges against Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, for a “misleading statement” and for “contempt of the Parliament and abuse of his privilege as a member of Parliament.”

The motion was raised by San Juan/Barataria MP Saddam Hosein in Parliament on Wednesday.

Last week, Armour dismissed claims from Hosein that he never disclosed the quantum of legal fees paid to local and foreign attorneys engaged by his ministry to Parliament.

Armour said this before Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved a supplementation of $280,015,740 for the Ministry of the AG and Legal Affairs.

He said, “I believe this House will record that I have provided a record to this House of a summary listing (of legal fees) for the June 19, 2021 to the March 3, 2023.”

The list included the names of local and foreign attorneys engaged by the ministry during that period, and the total paid to those attorneys was approximately $206,252,968.49.

Armour said Hosein appeared to have “a categorical lapse of memory.”

On Wednesday, Hosein recalled the committee meeting saying he told Armour “that the information was not provided as members of the Opposition did not have sight of it and the record was not placed on the Rotunda as is customarily done.

“Further diligent searches were made on the Parliament website and Hansard and the information was not provided.”

Hosein said he also asked when the information was provided and that Armour could not say.

“The breakdown of legal fees has not been provided by Senator Armour,” Hosein said. “As such, Senator Armour has wilfully and/or intentionally misled the Parliament as he knew or ought to have known the statement he made was a deliberate untruth, it was false and incorrect.”

He continued, “The fact that Senator Armour has knowledge of the matter with easy, ready and available access to records, there is a ready presumption that he made the statement with the intention to mislead the House.

“Senator Armour has deliberately made a misleading statement, he has committed a contempt of the Parliament and abused his privilege as a Member

of Parliament. As such, I submit that Senator Armour has committed a breach of privilege of the House.”